Government wants more electric cars

The National Party announced that one third of government-owned cars will be electric by 2021. The government owns about 15,000 cars so that means 5,000 will be electric. Right now, there are nearly 4,000 electric cars registered in New Zealand but the government is aiming for 64,000 by 2021.

New Zealand is lucky enough to have 80% of our electricity generated sustainably – by hydro- electric schemes, wind or thermal heat from steam on the Volcanic Plateau. Solar heating is still not very common here. We import petrol for our cars.

Electric cars have many benefits. Right now, they are expensive but, as batteries improve, the cost will decrease. Recharging a battery costs about the same as filling a car with petrol but paying only 30c for a litre of petrol. The main benefit though is the improvement in the quality of the air and the decrease in greenhouse gases.

We have 3.2 million cars registered in this country and a population of 4.7 million people. New Zealanders keep their cars for an average of 14 years. Japanese people, on the other hand, like new cars so many New Zealanders buy used Japanese cars but Japan does not have many electric cars. It is hard to see how we can reach the target of 64,000 electric cars in just 4 years.


• to generate (v) – to make (electricity), to produce, create; generation (n) e.g. electricity generation
• sustainable (adj) – can be used again and again with not much cost; sustainably (adv)
• target (n) – a desired goal
• to recharge (v) – to charge it again, put more energy into it

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